Do police have a legal obligation to accept reports of a crime?
a resident of Suffolk county, NY and I reside in Florida, thus requiring the filing of a report with my local Sheriff's office. I have done this, and the local Sheriff's department has advised that because the matter is a civil one, they cannot be of any help. However, it is my belief that any decision as to whether to treat this offense as a criminal one or civil one lies exclusively within the jurisdiction of the law enforcement authority where the offense was committed (Suffolk County, NY), and the role of the Sheriff's office located where I reside is limited to taking the report and forwarding it to the police in the jurisdiction where the offense occurred.
Am I correct, and if so, what do I do?
2 attorney answers
You are correct that the Sheriff's office in Florida cannot provide legal advice and does not make the final determination regarding whether an issue in another jurisdiction is civil or criminal. However, they have no obligation to forward your police report to anybody.
If you want the authorities in New York to have the information, you need to contact them and provide them with the information. If they tell you that it is a "civil matter" that doesn't mean that they are giving you legal advice regarding your rights in civil court. They are simply telling you that it isn't something that they are going to pursue as a criminal investigation. Law enforcement has prosecutorial discretion and will not pursue every matter that might result in criminal charges.
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You should make a report to the other agency if you believe you are correct.
And you are wrong. There is no such requirement